Mongolian Folk Music Comes to the Land of BBQ

Nyamjantsan Galsanjamts of The Hu in Kansas City. Photo by Josh Chaikin

It’s that time of year again, where there are multiple concerts in town on the same night, and the decision has to be made about where to go. Tonight, things were easy. At the Sprint Center T-Mobile Center was Justin Bieber, while just a few blocks away were Mongolian folk-rock/heavy metal band, THE HU. I’ve never been a Belieber, so that made things simple.

The Truman opened its doors just before 7:00, and the rain, giving us a chance to have a drink or two before the show. Kicking off the night were sibling fronted alt-rock band, THE HAUNT. Hailing from South Florida, the quartet played for a solid 40 minutes. A mix of garage rock, hip hop, and electronica, these indie rockers have carved themselves a unique sound, that really helped kick the night off. Those who showed up late missed Anastasia’s angsty lyrics, Maxamillion’s intelligent guitar playing, while Nick and Nat kept the beat on drums and bass respectively; though Nat jumped around a bit more.

With their second EP Social Intercourse out, THE HAUNT is making a name for themselves, and the visibility they’re gaining from being on the road with THE HU will certainly win them more fans.

Up next were the main event of the evening, THE HU. With the lights going down, and a now capacity Truman, chants of “Hu! Hu! Hu! Hu!” thundered through the room, a refrain which would be repeated after every song of the night.

Currently on a 33 city “Black Thunder” tour, which started at Coachella, The Hu played for over 90 minutes, with barely and break between their songs.

With a mix of traditional Mongoalian sound, and a tinge of metal, with throat singing of course, The Hu have found a sound that is their own. In fact, they’ve called it “Hunnu rock” Their lyrics, not native to the Kansas City audience, did not need translation. The energy, the music, it all spoke to the crowd. And that they can headline a US tour only six years after their founding, and three since their debut album, is a testament to the universal language of music.

With traditional instruments, and a tinge of western influence, it’s not hard to see how so many fans have been won over so quickly. The Hu featured throat singing, and instrumentation from Galbadrakh “Gala” Tsendbaatar on morin khuur, Nyamjantsan “Jaya” Galsanjamts on tumur hhuur, and tsuur,, Enkhsaikhan “Enkush” Batjargal on morin khuur, and Temuulen “Temka” Naranbaatar ontovshuur.

The Hu have a sound unlike anything else I’ve heard. Truly though, the thing that comes across most in their performance, is love. Is it love of their culture, the music, or their fans? I’m not sure, but it is wonderful to be part of that sonic embrace.

Words and Photos by Josh Chaikin

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